SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
India is on the path to develop a 25 tonne Twin Engine Deck Based (TEDBF) Fighter jet for Indian Navy and as per information coming in, which will be powered by Two F414-GE-INS6 afterburning turbofan engines manufactured by General Electric which generates Dry Thrust of 58 kN and Wet thrust class of 98 kN, which in Twin engine configuration will mean that TEDBF will have an excellent TWR or T/W ratio when compared to aircraft in its class.
Rafale M and Mig-29K are only other two carrier-based Twin-engine fighter jets which will be in the same class as TEDBF when it is ready. Rafale M is powered by the M-88 engine which generates a Dry Thrust of 50 kN and Wet thrust class of 75 kN, while Mig-29K is powered by RD-33MK ” Sea Wasp ” engines generates a have Dry Thrust of 50 kN and Wet thrust class of 88 kN.
Indian Navy operates Mig-29K from its aircraft carrier and according to open source information, TWR or T/W ratio of Mig-29K is 0.80 with a full fuel load and four AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles ), TWR or T/W ratio of Rafale M is slightly better at 0.98 again with a full fuel load and four AAMs. Rafale M enjoys a lighter empty weight and lighter engine weight due to which it has slightly better TWR ratio when compared to Mig-29K, but Indian Navy already has demonstrated that MiG-29Ks could take off from INS Vikramaditya with a full load of 5.5 tonnes, it could be any combination of AShMs, fuel tanks, precision-guided munitions and air to air missiles.
TEDBF’s TWR or T/W ratio with a full fuel load and four AAMs could be around 1.10 to 1.15 if the Empty weight of the TEDBF is 10.5 tonnes and due to lightweight engine and with higher thrust engines like F-414 it could be considered one of the best, Thrust to Weight Ratio in any Fighter Plane which is usually found in Air Superiority fighter jets Class. If ADA can manage the empty weight of TEDBF around 10.5 tonnes then it won’t be requiring an F-414 engine at all to perform the same operations which can be done with a lower thrust engine.
DRDO has started developing the IUCAV-UHF20 Engine which is an advanced version of Kaveri’s Dry section which will have Dry Thrust of 52 kN. IUCAV-UHF20 Engine will not have an afterburner module or propelling nozzles but the addition of this module will allow this engine to generate 81.0 kN to 85 kN class of Wet thrust which should be sufficient to power TEDBF.
Since Technical specifications of TEFBF is yet to be framed, a lot of factors will play crucial factors before IUCAV-UHF20 Engine can be considered for TEDBF fighter jets. TEDBF needs to have an empty weight of lesser than 11 tonnes and After burning module of IUCAV-UHF20 Engine needs to have Wet thrust of at least 85 kN. Other important factors are that the engine is less than 1 tonne in weight and is ready, tested, Certified to enter production by 2030 when TEDBF has been planned to go into production.